Lithium chloride inhibits the coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus in cell culture

Sally M. Harrison, Ian Tarpey, Lisa Rothwell, Pete Kaiser, Julian A. Hiscox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The avian coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is a major economic pathogen of domestic poultry that, despite vaccination, causes mortality and significant losses in production. During replication of the RNA genome there is a high frequency of mutation and recombination, which has given rise to many strains of IBV and results in the potential for new and emerging strains. Currently the live-attenuated vaccine gives poor cross-strain immunity. Effective antiviral agents may therefore be advantageous in the treatment of IBV Lithium chloride (LiCl) is a potent inhibitor of the DNA virus herpes simplex virus but not RNA viruses. The effect of LiCl on the replication of IBV was examined in cell culture using two model cell types; Vero cells, an African Green monkey kidney-derived epithelial cell line; and DF-1 cells, an immortalized chicken embryo fibroblast cell line. When treated with a range of LICI concentrations, IBV RNA and protein levels and viral progeny production were reduced in a dose-dependent manner in both cell types, and the data indicated that inhibition was a cellular rather than a virucidal effect. Host cell protein synthesis still took place in LiCl-treated cells and the level of a standard cellular housekeeping protein remained unchanged, indicating that the effect of LiCl was specifically against IBV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-114
Number of pages6
JournalAvian Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


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